Box Break: 2018-19 Upper Deck Trilogy

“Three shall be the number of the counting and the number of the counting shall be three. Four shalt thou not count, neither shalt thou count to two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three. Five is right out. Once the number three, being the number of the counting, be reached…” you shall then open your box of 2018-19 Upper Deck Trilogy.

I hope the Holy Grail reference didn’t go unappreciated as my lead in for reviewing this year’s Trilogy product from Upper Deck. As you may have already guessed, Trilogy has always been focused on groups of three, whether it’s three players pictured on a card, three parallel levels, three autographs, serial numbers to three, etc.  Even the set logo has a three in the title in place of the “g.” Is it a conspiracy? A puzzle? The Illuminati? I don’t know, but the 2018-19 edition of this mid-range product is no different.

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Box Break: 2018-19 Artifacts Hockey

When it comes to new hockey card releases, I am frequently a late bloomer when it comes breaking boxes. This year, 2018-19 Artifacts was no different. Released October 4, 2018, Artifacts is usually one of the first products to hit the market at the start of the new season (as well as MVP and O-Pee-Chee). I hadn’t had a chance to pick this product up until recently and I wanted to share my break and thoughts with our readers.

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The Thermochromic Puck: Hockey’s Latest and Greatest Achievement

The NHL made the announcement yesterday that for the first time, official game pucks to be used in this season’s NHL Winter Classic game will feature a new technology using a thermochromic coating. Thermo-what, you ask?  To put it in the simplest terms, PPG  — yes the Pittsburgh-based paint company that sponsors the Penguins’ home arena and is advertised as the official paint of the NHL — has developed a coating that changes color based on temperature. That’s right — color changing pucks. 

Where have we seen this phenomenon before? Continue reading “The Thermochromic Puck: Hockey’s Latest and Greatest Achievement”

Review: 2018-19 Topps Skate Mobile App

With the NHL season now two months in, I’m sure everyone is as happy as I am that hockey is back in full swing.  Just like with the last few seasons, Topps Skate is back as well with another year of digital card collecting, trading, and competition.

For those not familiar with Topps Skate, it is a digital app for mobile devices, licensed by the NHL and NHLPA, that allows users to collect and trade cards as well as compete in chase contests and live, real-time competition. 

What’s that you say? Topps doesn’t make hockey cards? Topps hasn’t made hockey cards since 2004? 

Well, you would be correct…if we were talking about actual, tangible cards you can touch, smell, and throw in your bike spokes. But in this case, we are talking about digital cards that exist virtually, in the mobile device world, floating through the air as little ones and zeros.  Topps has had a license to produce the app and make card designs since 2016.  I don’t recommend throwing your phone into your bike spokes.

This year’s app is quite different from last year and received a heavy design face lift.  For those familiar with other Topps digital apps, it now looks a lot like the Topps baseball app, Bunt. But since we focus mostly on hockey, I wanted to take some time to give our readers a basic overview of the app and also give my take on Skate as a whole.

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Changes In Store For COMC.com

How the New Fees Affects Card Flippers

Over the last 10+ years, COMC.com (or Check Out My Cards) has been toiling away in the trading card marketplace, striving to become one of, if not THE leader in individual trading card sales.  After having evolved from a small web portal known as LowPriceCards.com into the juggernaut that it is in a few years, COMC has emerged with an inventory of over 18.3 Million cards and sells and ships more singles to collectors all over the world than any other service provider.

Led by a sort of “grass-roots” style guerrilla marketing campaign (which to me appeared to be based mainly on word of mouth and appearances by COMC people at the big sports shows), I have seen COMC grow from servicing about 3 million cards in their inventory when I first joined to over six times that amount today. First joining COMC in the fall of 2013, I happened on the website after meeting the owner, Tim Getsch, at the National Sports Collectors Convention. The former Microsoft employee’s pitch was simple enough. “Just try it out,” he told me. “If you like it, stick around. If you don’t, feel free to email me personally and tell me why.”  That’s what brought me into the fold as a user. Customer service and the feeling like the owner gets it will most likely win out with me in the end.

Fast forward to this past weekend and the “Huge Announcement” from COMC. Like any company that is looking to survive for a long period of time, the goal has to be to make money.  Sure you want the customer experience to be the best and people to love you all the time and what you do but the existential aspect of running a business will eventually give way to the fact that pats on the back don’t pay bills. Continue reading “Changes In Store For COMC.com”

Box Break: 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee Hockey

At last! It’s finally here! The annual hockey set builders dream release, better known as 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee. Upper Deck has had the O-Pee-Chee brand back in circulation since the 2006-07 season and shows no signs of letting up. The annual monster set features 500 base cards plus an additional 100 short-printed cards that feature Marquee Rookies, League Leaders, Team Checklists, and Season Highlights. With a selection of 600 cards, you are bound to get a card of your favorite player — even if it happens to be Scott Foster.

For 2018-19 O-Pee-Chee, hobby boxes feature 24 packs of cards with ten cards in each pack. 240 cards isn’t bad when you consider a box will generally run you about $70 (so roughly $.30/card). This year’s design actually uses quite a bit of real estate devoted to the player photo, unlike some other years. The fronts feature an action shot of the player with the team logo on the bottom corner. The borders on the base cards is a light gray/white color with an interior border around the photo that features a cut out on top for the team name and on the bottom for the O-Pee-Chee logo and the player name. The position is also located on the bottom above the brand logo but is very small.

The backs (assuming anyone cares) are dominated by that corrugated cardboard color with black text. There is another inset border like the front that surrounds the player name, vitals, card number, and statistics. If you are looking for career stats, you will find most of them in their entirety on the back of O-Pee-Chee cards.

Enough about the design — lets get to the good stuff. 

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Box Break: 2018-19 MVP Hockey

NOTE: Veteran blogger Tim Parish — a.k.a. “The Real DFG” is now sharing his wit and sarcasm as a writer for Puck Junk. Please welcome him in the comments below. 

It’s that time of year again, ladies and gentleman.  Yes, the hockey season is upon us. With training camps about done, I figured it is a fine time to break the first box of the year.

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